Designers In Profile: Neil Edwards and Esti Buesa Diaz, Directors of AV Architects

Name: Neil Edwards and Esti Buesa Diaz

Company: AV Architects

Position within company: Directors


Tell us a little about your background (education, experience, etc)

The AV element of our studio name comes from who we are, where we lived and what we believe in:

  • Anglo – Vasca

  • Alava – Vitoria
  • Arquitectura Viva!!

The Anglo of the pair Neil was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1973 and completed his architectural education at the Oxford School of Architecture in 1998. Although born in Santander in Northern Spain in 1973 Esti lived most of her young life in Vitoria-Gasteiz part of the Basque Country hence V is for Vasca.

Together in 2010 Neil and Esti created AV Architects to offer a unique service to our clients based upon the principles gained from experience working in award winning practices around the world and a few principles that are vital in any walk of life. Integrity, Commitment and Passion.

 How would you describe your own personal style?

Work with the context and don’t have a formulaic approach to architectural solutions.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Places that I have lived, people I have met and worked with.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

On the downside I fear for traditional creative industries, crafts and trades due to a desire for speedy, cost effective solutions, the growth of generic luxury products and creative people often not being the best business people. However then I see a documentary on handmade watch making on the Isle of Man, UK and the future seems full of wonder!!

Name five key themes to consider when approaching property development in 2016 and beyond.

  1. Work with nice people, life’s too short not to.
  2. There is always another property / deal. Take time to select the right project.
  3. If professionals are good pay them as soon as you get their invoice. This ensures they will not become distracted and guarantees their best efforts on your behalf.
  4. However. Don’t suffer fools gladly or feel pressured into making decisions. You worked too hard to fund your project so trust your instincts sometimes.
  5. Someone else will have always done it cheaper, made more money, re-sold at a massive profit etc. Don’t let this frustrate or distract you.

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to development projects, what would it be?

Take time to employ the right people. If someone says they have never had a problem on a project don’t employ them. It is how issues are dealt with that is the most important.

How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

There are few awards in the built/design environment that have such a board spectrum of styles. If done with love and care there is the same talent in cutting edge or traditional inspired design.

What projects are you currently working on?

  • Refurbishment and contemporary extension to Grade 2* listed Georgian mansion.
  • Internal re-modelling of large former farmhouse with 3 roundels
  • Landscape works including Swimming pool and traditional orangery extension to rural house.
  • Extensive Basement extension and glass box extension of oast building
  • New contemporary kitchen extension to Grade 2 listed farmhouse
  • Re-modelling and extension of Grade 2 listed cottage

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

Continue to work with our wonderful clients to deliver their dreams for their homes. Since our establishment we’ve operated on a client referral basis but will start some selective marketing in 2016 with the goal of more amazing commissions locally and further afield.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself…

Your most treasured possession? Lamy fountain pen

Your favourite holiday destination? Somo, Northern Spain

Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar? Magnolia, Suesa, Northern Spain

Your favourite book / film / song? The true history of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey, On the Waterfront staring Marlin Brando, Wild is the wind – David Bowie version

Your favourite food and drink? Bonito del Norte, Cune Rioja Reserva

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? (in no more than 25 words)

With the family going for a walk in the amazing Kent countryside especially in late Autumn when the hedgerow come alive with things to eat/pick

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? A chef.


Neil Edwards and Esti Buesa Diaz, Directors of AV Architects